England & Wales

An introduction to Local Government Finance


Local authority budgets are under significant pressure and there was no relief following the announcement of the funding settlement for Local Government on 19th December 2012. A new finance system, based on the localisation of Business Rates comes into operation in 2013. All councillors need to understand how the finance system works so that they can play their role effectively. Executive councillors have to develop and implement the budget; councillors on scrutiny committees should be reviewing the budget process and financial planning, and every councillor needs to involve their residents in the political choices that have to be made about budgets and council tax. If you are going to make a difference as a councillor it is crucial that you understand finance and are confident about the role you should play in the financial affairs of the council.

This workshop focuses on local government finance from the national and local perspective, including strategies to minimise the impact on local authority services and jobs. Delivery methods will include power point presentations, group exercises and question and answer sessions.


09:30     Registration and refreshments

10:00     Welcome and Introduction

10:10     Context – what are the issues facing local government

10:40     Back to basics: how the system works

11:40     Refreshments

11:50     What is the role of elected members

12:40     Lunch

13:25     Local government finance in a new landscape: the impact of the government’s review of local government finance.

14:05     Budgeting for tough times: what strategies should councils use?

14:50     Final comments

15:00     Close


Ian Fifield, Head of Training, LG Futures Ltd. Ian is a CIPFA qualified accountant with over 20 years’ experience in designing and delivering financial management training for local 01authorities and other public service organisations. Ian’s training experience includes: designing training seminars for finance professionals, service managers and elected members. He has co-authored the Centre for Public Scrutiny publications On the Money, considering effective financial and budget scrutiny methods and also Treasure Your Assets, considering local government invest and borrowing activities.

Alan Waters, Cabinet member for Resources, Norwich City Council and Learning and Development Manager, LGIU.Alan has extensive experience in dealing with the practical political issues that face elected members around budgets. Alan has delivered a wide range of training and development programmes for the LGIU. He is a Member Peer with the Local Government Group and has been a trainer for the National Councillor Mentoring Programme.

Who should attend?

The seminar is aimed at both new and experienced local authority members, who want to understand the basics of local government finance and financial management – and develop a grasp of the financial implications of forthcoming changes being planned by the government. The seminar will also be relevant to local authority officers who are involved in the budget process, as well as local government partners.